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About this investment trust

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

The Company's investment objective is to provide an attractive level of income return together with capital appreciation over the long term, in a manner consistent with the principles of sustainable investing adopted by the Company.

Why choose it?

Persistent low interest rates have made it a challenge for investors to find consistent sources of income. The Trust’s managers select high quality, income generative companies from across North America, with sustainability at the heart of its investment approach. In a lower growth world, the Trust aims to uncover dynamic companies with the power to compound growth over many years.

Suited to…

Investors looking for a carefully selected, sustainable, actively managed portfolio of high-quality North American businesses, designed to deliver long-term income and capital growth.

What are the risks?

  • Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.
  • Overseas investment will be affected by movements in currency exchange rates.
  • Net Asset Value (NAV) performance is not the same as share price performance, and shareholders may realise returns that are lower or higher than NAV performance.
  • Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.
  • The Trust may use derivatives to aim to generate more income. This may reduce the potential for capital growth.
  • Investors in this Trust should understand that capital growth is not a priority and values may fluctuate and the level of income may vary from time to time and is not guaranteed.
  • The Trust uses derivatives as part of its investment strategy. Compared to a fund which only invests in traditional instruments such as stocks and bonds, derivatives are potentially subject to a higher level of risk.

Useful information

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

Fees & Charges

Annual Expenses as at Date: 31 October 2023

Ongoing Charge (including any Performance Fee): 1.03%

Management Fee Summary: BlackRock receives an annual management fee of 0.70% of the Company's net assets.

  • ISIN: GB00B7W0XJ61
    Sedol: B7W0XJ6
    Bloomberg: BRSA LN
    Reuters: BRSA.L
    LSE code: BRSA

  • Name of Company: BlackRock Fund Managers Limited

    Telephone: 020 7743 3000



    Correspondence Address: Investor Services,

    BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited,

    12 Throgmorton Avenue,


    EC2N 2DL

    Name of Registrar: Computershare PLC

    Registered Office: 12 Throgmorton Avenue


    EC2N 2DL

    Registrar Telephone: +44 (0)370 873 5879

    Place of Registration: England

    Registered Number: 8196493

  • Year End: 31 October

    Results Announced: June (interim), February (final)

    AGM: March

    Dividends Paid: Quarterly ( April, July, October & January)

Latest company announcements

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

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The Board’s approach to ESG

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

The Board believes that responsible investment and sustainability are integral to the longer-term delivery of the Company’s success. The Board works closely with the Investment Manager to regularly review the Company’s performance, investment strategy and underlying policies to ensure that the Company’s investment objective continues to be met in an effective, responsible and sustainable way in the interests of shareholders and future investors.

The Board has been mindful of the increase in demand for investment products that place a sustainable investment philosophy at their core, a trend that has accelerated in recent years. Accordingly, following a thorough review and shareholder approval at a General Meeting held on 29 July 2021, the Company’s investment objective and investment policy were amended to incorporate a sustainable investment approach into the investment policy so that the Company is managed in a way which is compatible with principles of sustainable investment. In addition, one of the Company’s non-executive Directors has responsibility for sustainability, working alongside the rest of the Board and the Investment Manager.

Investment approach

The Investment Manager, in addition to other investment criteria, takes into account the environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics of the portfolio and prospective investments and seeks to deliver a superior ESG outcome versus the reference index (the Russell 1000 Value Index) as measured by a leading external ratings agency, by aiming for the Company’s portfolio to achieve: (i) a better ESG score than the reference index; and (ii) a lower carbon emissions intensity score than the Reference Index.

The Investment Manager applies a screening policy (the BlackRock EMEA baseline screens policy) at the time of investment through which it seeks to limit and/or exclude direct investment (as applicable) in companies which, in the opinion of the Investment Manager, have exposure to, or ties with, certain sectors (in some cases subject to specific revenue thresholds) including but not limited to:

  • the production of certain types of controversial weapons:
  • the distribution or production of firearms or small arms ammunition intended for retail civilians:
  • the extraction of certain types of fossil fuel and/or the generation of power from them:
  • the production of tobacco products or certain activities in relation to tobacco-related products; and
  • issuers which have been deemed to have failed to comply with United Nations Global Compact Principles.

The BlackRock EMEA baseline screens policy will evolve over time as improved data and more research on this subject becomes available. A full list of the current limits and/or exclusions (including any specific threshold criteria is available at

Following application of the screening policy, those companies which have not yet been excluded from investment will then be evaluated by the Investment Manager based on their ability to manage the risks and opportunities associated with ESG-consistent business practices and their ESG risk and opportunity credentials, such as their leadership and governance framework, which is considered essential for sustainable growth, their ability to strategically manage longer-term issues surrounding ESG and the potential impact that this may have on a company’s financials. To undertake the required analyses, the Investment Manager may use data provided by external ESG data providers, proprietary models and local intelligence and may undertake site visits.

Sustainable investing: BlackRock’s approach

Sustainability is BlackRock’s standard for investing, based on the investment conviction that integrating sustainability can help investors build more resilient portfolios and achieve better long term, risk-adjusted returns. BlackRock believes that climate change is a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects and that it will have a significant and lasting impact on economic growth and prosperity. BlackRock believes that climate risk equates to investment risk and this will drive a profound reassessment of risk and asset values as investors seek to react to the impact of climate policy changes. 

BlackRock evaluates underlying investments in companies according to good governance criteria, where relevant data is available and as appropriate given the underlying investment type. These criteria relate to sound management structures, employee relations, remuneration of staff and tax compliance. BlackRock may also consider additional factors relating to good governance in its assessment of the sustainability related characteristics of underlying issuers.

ESG: integration into BlackRock’s investment management process

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is often used interchangeably with the term “sustainable investing.” BlackRock has identified sustainable investing as being the overall framework and ESG as a data toolkit for identifying and informing our solutions. BlackRock has defined ESG Integration as the practice of incorporating material ESG information and consideration of sustainability risks into investment decisions in order to enhance risk-adjusted returns. BlackRock recognises the relevance of material ESG information across all asset classes and styles of portfolio management. ESG information and sustainability risks are included as a consideration in investment research, portfolio construction, portfolio review and investment stewardship processes. The Investment Manager considers ESG insights and data, including sustainability risks, within the total set of information in its research process and makes a determination as to the materiality of such information in its investment process. ESG insights are not the sole consideration when making investment decisions. The Investment Manager’s evaluation of ESG data may be subjective and could change over time in light of emerging sustainability risks or changing market conditions. This approach is consistent with the Investment Manager’s regulatory duty to manage the Company in accordance with its investment objective and policy and in the best interests of the Company’s investors. The Investment Manager’s Risk and Quantitative Analysis group will review portfolios to ensure that sustainability risks are considered regularly alongside traditional financial risks, that investment decisions are taken in light of relevant sustainability risks and that decisions exposing portfolios to sustainability risks are deliberate, and the risks diversified and scaled according to the investment objectives of the Company.

BlackRock’s approach to ESG integration is to broaden the total amount of information the Investment Manager considers with the aim of improving investment analysis and understanding the likely impact of sustainability risks on the Company’s investments. The Investment Manager assesses a variety of economic and financial indicators, which may include ESG data and insights, to make investment decisions appropriate for the Company objectives. This can include relevant third-party insights or data, internal research or engagement commentary and input from BlackRock Investment Stewardship.

Investment stewardship

BlackRock undertakes investment stewardship engagements and proxy voting with the goal of protecting and enhancing the long-term value of clients’ investments for relevant asset classes. In our experience, sustainable financial performance and value creation are enhanced by sound governance practices, including risk management oversight, board accountability and compliance with regulations. We focus on board composition, effectiveness and accountability as a top priority. In our experience, high standards of corporate governance are the foundations of board leadership and oversight. We engage to better understand how boards assess their effectiveness and performance, as well as their position on director responsibilities and commitments, turnover and succession planning, crisis management and diversity. For further details regarding BlackRock’s work on investment stewardship please refer to the website at

Fund manager commentary

29 February 2024

Comments from the Portfolio Managers

Please note that the commentary below includes historic information on the Company’s NAV performance data, index and share price performance, and also the portfolio’s options exposure and the delta of the options. 

The figures shown relate to past performance.  Past performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results.

For the one-month period ended 29 February 2024, the Company’s NAV increased by 2.8% and the share price fell by 0.3% (all in sterling). The Company’s reference index, the Russell 1000 Value Index, returned +4.4% for the period.1

The largest contributor to relative performance, stemmed from stock selection in health care, specifically selection decisions in life sciences tools and services boosted relative performance. Selection decisions in utilities also boosted relative performance, most notably in multi-utilities. Other modest contributors during the period at the sector level included selection decisions in consumer staples and an underweight allocation to real estate.

The largest detractor from relative performance stemmed from stock selection in consumer discretionary, most notably in household durables. Investment decisions in industrials detracted from relative performance, with stock selection in electrical equipment proving to be detrimental. Other modest detractors during the period included stock selection in energy and materials.


During the month, the Company’s largest purchases included Diageo, Avnet and PG&E. The Company exited its position in Nestlé, Komatsu and Gildan Activewear.


As of the period end, the Company’s largest overweight positions relative to the reference index were in the health care, information technology and consumer discretionary sectors. The Company’s largest underweight positions relative to the reference index were in the industrials, real estate and utilities sectors.

Source: Unless otherwise stated all data is sourced from BlackRock as at 29 February 2024.

Source: 1 Datastream as at 29 February 2024.

Any opinions or forecasts represent an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results.  This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation.

Reference to individual investments mentioned in this communication is for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or investment

Portfolio manager biographies

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

Tony DeSpirito is Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. He is Head of the US Income & Value team and Director of Investments, US Equities within the Fundamental Active Equity business of BlackRock's Active Equity Group. Mr. DeSpirito is the lead Portfolio Manager for the BlackRock Equity Dividend portfolios. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2014, Mr. DeSpirito worked at Pzena Investment Management, where he served as Managing Principal, portfolio manager, and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Mr.DeSpirito was responsible for a suite of large-cap value, all-cap value and two hedge fund portfolios. Having managed value equity assets since 1996, Mr. DeSpirito served as a portfolio manager for the John Hancock Classic Value, PACE Large Company Value, and Vanguard Windsor funds. Mr. DeSpirito earned a BS degree in economics with concentration in finance, summa cum laude, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, and a JD degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1993.

David Zhao is Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. He is Co-Director of Research for the US Income & Value team within the Fundamental Active Equity business of BlackRock's Active Equities Group. Mr. Zhao is a Portfolio Manager for the BlackRock Equity Dividend portfolios.Prior to joining BlackRock, David was a Global Equity Senior Research Analyst and Principal at Pzena Investment Management covering technology, US banks/brokers, medical technology, non-life insurance, financial technology and select industrials. David began his career as an Analyst at Lehman Brothers covering technology M&A; and later within the Institutional Equities Corporate Strategy Group.David holds a BA of Arts with degrees in Economics and Computer Information Systems and graduated Cum Laude from Northwestern University.

Lisa Yang is Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. She is a member of the Fundamental Equities division of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group. Ms. Yang is a Research Analyst for the US Income & Value Pillar and she is responsible for coverage of the consumer staples sector. Prior to joining BlackRock, Lisa served as an Equity Research Associate at Wellington Management in Boston where she covered Utilities and Telecoms. Lisa earned a BA degree in Economics and Math from Wellesley College and an MBA degree from Wharton.

Tony DeSpirito profile photo
Tony DeSpirito
Portfolio Manager
david zhao headshot
David Zhao
Portfolio Manager
Lisa yang headshot
Lisa Yang
Portfolio Manager

Board of directors

All the Directors are non-executive and independent of the Investment Manager. The Board as a whole constitutes the Audit and Management Engagement Committee..

Alice Ryder (Chair) (date of appointment 12 June 2013) is a Partner of Stanhope Capital LLP and has more than 28 years’ investment experience, comprising the last fourteen years as an investment consultant in the charity sector and as a fund manager from 1985 to 2002. She is responsible for advising substantial charity and not for profit clients at Stanhope Consulting, a division of Stanhope Capital LLP. She is also a Director of JPMorgan Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc.

David Barron (Chair of the Audit and Management Engagement Committee and Senior Independent Director) (date of appointment 22 March 2022) has spent 25 years working in the investment management sector and was until November 2019 Chief Executive Officer of Miton Group PLC. Prior to this he was Head of Investment Trusts at JP Morgan Asset Management. He is currently chairman of Dunedin Income Growth Investment Trust PLC, a non-executive director of Fidelity Japan Trust PLC and a non-executive Director of Premier Miton Group PLC. He is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland having qualified with Thomson McLintock (now KPMG).

Melanie Roberts (appointed 1 October 2019) has responsibility for sustainability, working alongside the rest of the Board and the Investment Manager. She is a partner at Sarasin & Partners LLP and has 27 years of investment experience. She joined Sarasin & Partners in 2011 and in January 2023 was appointed as head of charities, continuing to focus on strategy, stewardship and client service for charity portfolios. Prior to joining Sarasin & Partners, she spent 16 years at Newton Investment Management as a fund manager of charity, private client and pension fund portfolios.

Solomon Soquar (date of appointment 21 March 2023) has a long and deep experience of over 30 years across Investment Banking, Capital Markets, and Wealth Management. He has worked with several major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, Bankers Trust, Merrill Lynch, Citi and Barclays. His most recent executive role has been as CEO of Barclays Investments Solutions Limited. Over the last few years, Solomon has developed a portfolio of roles, including Non-Executive Director of Ruffer Investment Company Limited; Chair, Africa Research Excellence Fund; and Business Fellow of Oxford University, Smith School of Economics and Enterprise.

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Investment strategies targeting growth and income
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Over 29 years of proven experience running investment trusts (Dec 2021)
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Unparalleled research capabilities and experienced stock pickers
To get in touch contact us on:
Telephone: 020 7743 3000